Thursday, January 23, 2014

Digital Tutorial: Make Your Own Wallpaper

Happy Thursday!

Today I'll share some information and hopefully some inspiration about making your own wallpaper for your computer, smartphone and/or tablet. I'll cover some general guidelines, but creating wallpaper is much like creating a digital layout--assemble in a pleasing way and done! It's all about what you like.

First, here are some common desktop sizes (in pixels):

  • 1024 x  768 (Fullscreen)
  • 1280 x 1024 (Fullscreen)
  • 1280 x  800 (Widescreen)
  • 1920 x 1080 (Widescreen)

Start with a blank canvas.

There are many others, but this is a good starting point. If you want to check the resolution of your computer's screen, go to the 'Display' setting in the Control Panel and see your specific info. But really, if your wallpaper is a little to big (or small), there are settings that will automatically resize it to proportionally fill your screen, so it's not critical to get the exact number of pixels in your display.

If you want to create for phones or tablets, use these sizes (in pixels):

  •  640 x 1136 (iPhone)
  • 1024 x 1024 (iPad)
  • 2048 x 2048 (iPad Retina Display)

If you're an Android user, please check you specific device, as there are many different screen sizes for Android phones and tablets.

Note, even though an iPad screen isn't square, it's better to create a square wallpaper. When you rotate the screen between portrait and landscape modes, your wallpaper doesn't distort.

Always create your document in pixels and be sure to start at either 72 or 96 ppi for desktop or laptop computers. For iPhones, use 326ppi; for older iPads, 132ppi; for newer, 'retina display' iPads, 264ppi.

Once you've created the file, go to Image -> Image Size and change the resolution to 300ppi. Since all Club Scrap Digital Kit items are saved at 300ppi, it will be easier to create your desktop image at this resolution. When you're ready to save your final JPG, change the resolution back to where you started.

For desktops, subtle patterns tend to work a bit better, especially on the left and right edges, where most of the icons tend to live. Too much 'stuff' happening in the background can make those icons on the desktop a bit more difficult to find.

Add a background.
Playing with layer styles or opacity can help you add some visual 'texture' without  making the background too busy.

And a little extra item for added interest.
If you want to add a calendar to your desktop, there are many sites that have options for calendars in different formats. I like Just download the PDF version of the yearly calendar. When opened in Photoshop, it opens with a transparent background so you can just use the marquee tool to select the desired month and drag it onto your desktop layout. Apply a color overlay to match it to the kit you're using and it's good to go!

You can add various digital embellishments, fibers, photos, etc. exactly the same way you'd add them to a digital layout. Don't forget to add drop shadows where appropriate!

And a few more elements to complete the wallpaper.
Above, you can see that I'm being mindful of the desktop icons typically arranged on the left and right edges of the pane.

Flatten and save your wallpaper at the original desired ppi when you're happy with the design. That's all there is to it! Experiment until you're happy with a layout. Make several and share them! There's a wallpaper swap each month at the Club Scrap Community. You can get more information about the swap HERE.

Now go make your own and have some fun!

See you later!



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